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Friday, July 25, 2014

Editorial: Instead of apology, pay back wasted funds

Saturday, July 27, 2002

Jeanna Martin's apology this week was too little and too late.

Martin was the woman who left her family in Mississippi to go with a male friend -- who was on parole and not supposed to leave the state -- to pick up a car he bought in Hannibal, Mo. He was driving home in one car and she in another when her car had a flat, forcing her off Interstate 55 five miles north of Cape Girardeau. Her friend apparently kept driving back to Mississippi, afraid that authorities would find out he had left the state and would throw him back in jail -- where he wound up anyway.

The situation looked grim. Her car was abandoned with the keys in the ignition, and Martin was nowhere to be found.

Her family had to consider the worst. Sheriff's departments and other law-enforcement agencies were looking for her in at least two states. Martin's brother staged an informational campaign, sending missing-person posters to media outlets in Missouri.

There was, as it turns out, no need to fret. Martin was on an 11-day joyride with a truck driver. She finally made a phone call from South Carolina to let her family know she was just fine -- and, by the way, she needed a ride back to Mississippi.

This kind of behavior is deplorable. If Martin has a shred of decency, she will ask the agencies involved in searching for her how much she owes them for the wasted effort of looking for her. Then she will find a job and start sending what she can.

A statement of apology faxed to the Southeast Missourian isn't enough.


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